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Thread: G20 Marches Begin Week of Protests in Europe

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    G20 Marches Begin Week of Protests in Europe

    G20 Marches Begin Week of Protests in Europe
    Sat, 28 Mar 2009 / International

    From Yahoo! News:

    LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people marched in capital cities across Europe on Saturday to protest about the economic crisis and urge world leaders to act on poverty, jobs and climate change at a G20 summit next week.

    Chanting “tax the rich, make them pay,” protesters marched through London waving banners saying “People before Profit,” at the start of a week of protests that reflected growing public anger over bankers’ pay and their role in the crisis.

    Leaders from the world’s 20 biggest economies meet in London on Thursday to discuss how tighter regulation of financial markets, billions of dollars in stimulus measures and credit lines for international trade can help the world economy recover from the deepest recession since the 1930s.

    In Britain, trade unions, aid agencies, religious groups and environmentalists joined together under the slogan “Put People First” to demand reforms to make the world’s economy fairer.

    One group carried a traditional Chinese dragon with the head of a devil papered with dollar bills, calling it “The G20 Monster.” Others waved signs reading “Jobs, Justice, Climate.”

    While the atmosphere was generally carnival-like, some marchers jeered when they passed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Downing Street offices. Police said up to 35,000 people took part in the march and subsequent rally in Hyde Park.

    “This is going to be a summer of rage for the working class,” said marcher Bryan Simpson, 20, a clerk from Glasgow.

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the protesters should “give us a chance” and listen to what politicians plan to do.

    “Hopefully we can make it clear to them we are going to walk away from this G20 meeting with some concrete proposals,” he told reporters in Chile.

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he understood people’s concerns, adding, “That is why the action we want to take (at the G20) is designed to answer the questions that the protesters have today.”

    The British protest was mirrored in other major EU nations.

    About 15,000 people marched through Berlin with black-clad protestors throwing rocks and bottles at police, setting off fireworks and smashing a police car window. Police said several arrests were made.

    Up to 14,000 assembled in Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, police said, as part of a two-city demonstration.

    About 6,000 demonstrators, mostly students and trade union members, marched in Rome to protest about a meeting of G8 labor ministers in the city.

    Most of the marchers were peaceful, carrying placards and chanting “We won’t pay for the crisis” and other slogans, but one small group smashed the glass front of a bank, and daubed “give us our money back” on the wall in red paint.

    Fire-crackers were let off and banks, insurance companies and estate agents were also covered in paint.

    “There has been a total failure of creative finance and of an economy based on the exploitation of workers, financial speculation and tax evasion,” said protester Mario Giannini.

    In Vienna, police said some 6,500 marched through the Austrian capital under slogans such as “Make The Rich Pay” and “Capitalism Kills.” There was no violence.

    In central Paris, a few hundred demonstrators gathered in a protest under the slogan “We will not pay for their crisis.”

    While some G20 protesters in London have adopted slogans such as “Hang a Banker” and “Storm the Banks,” organizers of the London march said they had wanted a peaceful day.

    A London police spokesman said there was only one arrest, for drunken behavior. However, police have canceled leave in the capital to cope with further protests planned by anarchists.

    (Additional reporting by Catherine Bosley in London, Gavin Jones in Rome, Boris Groendahl in Vienna and Adrian Croft in Chile; Writing by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Louise Ireland)
    “How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which has to be overcome, by the effort it costs to stay aloft. One would have to seek the highest type of free man where the greatest resistance is constantly being overcome: five steps from tyranny, near the threshold of the danger of servitude.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Re: G20 Marches Begin Week of Protests in Europe


    Arcellor Mittal workers demonstrate

    Revolt Spreads Across the Globe as "Crisis" Continues to Unfold
    Wed, 04 Feb 2009

    By Nathan Coe, GNN
    Unrest rocks the streets of China, France, Russia, Mexico, and elsewhere. And it is spreading...

    “They say that the fires of revolt will spread everywhere, and we see acts like damage to bank branches or state buildings and claims of solidarity with the Greek rioters.”

    After numerous European governments expressed fear that the unrest in Greece would spread to neighboring countries and perhaps around the world, the spreading global revolt has taken on another tone: that of confronting the elite for their manipulation of the economic “crisis” (which is really a systemic collapse) in order to consolidate yet even more wealth as the masses of the world suffer the brunt of the former’s greed. The spirit of the Greek revolt has not been forgotten, however, for it is clear whose interests the police serve and protect (as America was recently reminded in Oakland).

    As Iceland became the first country to fall due to popular revolt against the economic elite, and then proceeded to elect their first female PM, who is also openly gay, things are heating up around the globe. Recently, over 1,000 protesters assembled illegally to protest the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, and while the protests were overwhelmingly peaceful, fear of unrest prompted the police to systematically target and arrest known and identified militants and revolutionaries.

    As GNN’s Grady reports, in China “2,000 workers and farmers held wage protests for twelve days outside of Shanghai” in December 2008, “striking workers and security guards clash in a textile factory in Dongguan” on January 15th, and on January 16th, “100 police officers stage a rally in Shenzhen after being sacked from their jobs.” The Times Online also reports that in the southern province of Guangdong, “three jobless men detonated a bomb in a business travellers’ hotel in the commercial city of Foshan to extort money from the management.” In the 12 days of mass demonstrations last December, the Times reports:

    ...angry workers besieged labour offices and government buildings after dozens of factories closed their doors without paying wages and their owners went back to Hong Kong, Taiwan or South Korea. In southern China, hundreds of workers blocked a highway to protest against pay cuts imposed by managers. At several factories, there were scenes of chaos as police were called to stop creditors breaking in to seize equipment in lieu of debts.

    In France, an estimated 2.5 million people hit the streets in a national general strike in response to the global economic collapse, and in disdain of the handling of the so-called “crisis” by their country’s ruling-class economic elite. The Telegraph reported that “the streets filled with flag-waving protesters and in Paris protesters clashed with police, throwing bottles, overturning cars and starting a fire in the street. After a day of peaceful protests, violence erupted on the fringes of the Paris protest. Dozens of young men wearing scarves across their face were charged down by riot police after throwing stones and bottles, tearing up manhole covers and lighting fires in the Opera district.”

    Anger is growing in France and around the world

    The Beeb reports:

    Across Europe, victims of the economic slump who are losing their jobs in their tens of thousands are furious that public money is being doled out to the banks. In some countries, they are more willing to vent their anger. As huge crowds took to the streets across France this week, in a national day of protests and strikes, the far left points to a boost in the number of its supporters in times of financial gloom.

    Certainly, ministers in Paris are wary of some form of insurrection. Recent intelligence reports talk about an “elevated threat” from an “international European network… with a strong presence in France” and a “new generation of activists”, possibly a “re-birth of the violent extreme left”. A spokesman for the interior ministry, Gerard Gachet, told the BBC that the threat was real. “The term ‘ultra-left’ was used by the interior minister to set this group apart from the extreme left who turn up for elections and keep within the parameters of democratic debate,” he says. But talking of more radical groups, he points to recent pamphlets and books published anonymously, but sometimes with a circulation of about 20,000, with titles such as How to Start a Civil War and The Insurrection That is Coming. “They say that the fires of revolt will spread everywhere,” he says, “and we see acts like damage to bank branches or state buildings and claims of solidarity with the Greek rioters.”

    The Guardian reported that “the French government fears a wave of extreme left-wing terrorism this year with the possible sabotage of key infrastructure, kidnappings of major business figures or even bomb attacks. Last week hundreds of fly-posters around Paris called on young people ‘forced to work for a world that poisons us’ to follow the example of their Greek counterparts. ‘The insurrection goes on. If it takes hold everywhere, no one can stop it,’ the posters said.”

    In another article entitled “Governments across Europe tremble as angry people take to the streets,” The Guardian reported: “France paralysed by a wave of strike action, the boulevards of Paris resembling a debris-strewn battlefield. The Hungarian currency sinks to its lowest level ever against the euro, as the unemployment figure rises. Greek farmers block the road into Bulgaria in protest at low prices for their produce. New figures from the biggest bank in the Baltic show that the three post-Soviet states there face the biggest recessions in Europe.”

    Across Russia, thousands of protesters demonstrated against their government’s economic policies and response to the global economic crisis, echoing the grievances of others around the globe. Al Jazeera reports that “Russian police forcefully broke up many of the anti-government protests on Saturday, arresting dozens of demonstrators.”

    In Mexico City, the BBC reports, thousands of people “protested against what they say is the inadequate response by the government to growing economic problems in Mexico.”

    As the global economic collapse continues to unfold, the spirit of revolt and resistance is being rekindled within the hearts of the masses, and the people of the world are rising up. Resistance is spreading from Athens, Riga, Paris, Budapest, Kiev, Reykjavik, China, Mexico, and elsewhere.

    Chris Hedges recently wrote that “the daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. The street protests, strikes and riots that have rattled France, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Iceland will descend on us. It is only a matter of time. And not much time.” He continues:

    At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has collapsed. How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations? Will we heed those who are sober and rational, those who speak of a new simplicity and humility, or will we follow the demagogues and charlatans who rise up out of the slime in moments of crisis to offer fantastic visions? Will we radically transform our system to one that protects the ordinary citizen and fosters the common good, that defies the corporate state, or will we employ the brutality and technology of our internal security and surveillance apparatus to crush all dissent? We won’t have to wait long to find out.

    Joshua Holland, in a recent piece on AlterNet entitled “The Whole World Is Rioting as the Economic Crisis Worsens — Why Aren’t We?,” reported that “explosive anger is spilling out onto the streets of Europe. The meltdown of the global economy is igniting massive social unrest in a region that has long been a symbol of political stability and social cohesion. It’s not a new trend: A wave of upheaval is spreading from the poorer countries on the periphery of the global economy to the prosperous core.” He continues:

    Over the past few years, a series of riots spread across what is patronizingly known as the Third World. Furious mobs have raged against skyrocketing food and energy prices, stagnating wages and unemployment in India, Senegal, Yemen, Indonesia, Morocco, Cameroon, Brazil, Panama, the Philippines, Egypt, Mexico and elsewhere. For the most part, those living in wealthier countries took little notice. But now, with the global economy crashing down around us, people in even the wealthiest nations are mad as hell and reacting violently to what they view as an inadequate response to their tumbling economies. At least in Western Europe, cries of “burn the shit down!” are being heard in countries with some of the highest standards of living in the world — states with adequate social safety nets; countries where all citizens have access to decent health care and heavily subsidized educations. Places where minimum wages are also living wages, and a dignified retirement is in large part guaranteed. The far ends of the ideological spectrum appear to be gaining currency as the crisis develops, and people grow increasingly hostile toward the politics of the status quo.

    How will the people of America respond to the systematic consolidation of wealth within their own country, coupled with environmental degradation and the unfolding police state? At what threshold will the people of America have had enough? At what point will we stand up and resist our own destruction? The choice is ours.

    “You shouldn’t be so timid—you are not alone. There are millions of us waiting for you to make yourself known, ready to love you and laugh with you and fight at your side for a better world. Follow your heart to the places we will meet. Please don’t be too late.” — Fighting For Our Lives

    Nathan Coe is a guerrilla journalist and rebel insurgent residing in the mountains of Southwest Colorado, who also works with SW(A)RM, subMedia, and Indymedia. He can be contacted at autonomousresistance@riseup.net or via his blog at ShiftShapers.gnn.tv.
    “How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which has to be overcome, by the effort it costs to stay aloft. One would have to seek the highest type of free man where the greatest resistance is constantly being overcome: five steps from tyranny, near the threshold of the danger of servitude.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Re: G20 Marches Begin Week of Protests in Europe


    Globalized Resistance
    Sat, 28 Feb 2009
    We are winning!

    By Nathan Coe, GNN
    Capitalism is global, so our resistance must be as well

    A follow-up article to “Revolt Spreads Across the Globe as ‘Crisis’ Continues to Unfold”

    It’s hard to keep up with the dizzying array of events unfolding around us on the international, global scale. As the global economy feels the first jolts of its inevitable systemic collapse, the people of the world are rising up against their masters, and the ruling-class elite are responding in kind, with increased repression at home and abroad.

    Globalist madman Zbigniew Brzezinski (Carter’s national security advisor, personal advisor to Barack Obama, and the man described as having “articulated the PNAC platform a decade in advance”) has warned of civil unrest and riots within the United States. Joshua Holland of AlterNet writes that “worldwide, industrial production has ground to a halt. Goods are stacking up, but nobody’s buying.” Recently, around 100,000 people hit the streets in Dublin, Ireland “to vent their anger at the Irish government’s handling of the country’s recession.” The Guardian recently reported that in the UK, “the British government is criminalizing legitimate dissent under the guise of fighting ‘extremism’, a word for which it has no definition.”

    Michael Klare writes that “the global economic meltdown has already caused bank failures, bankruptcies, plant closings, and foreclosures and will, in the coming year, leave many tens of millions unemployed across the planet. But another perilous consequence of the crash of 2008 has only recently made its appearance: increased civil unrest and ethnic strife.” He continues:

    Indeed, if you want to be grimly impressed, hang a world map on your wall and start inserting red pins where violent episodes have already occurred. Athens (Greece), Longnan (China), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Riga (Latvia), Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sofia (Bulgaria), Vilnius (Lithuania), and Vladivostok (Russia) would be a start. Many other cities from Reykjavik, Paris, Rome, and Zaragoza to Moscow and Dublin have witnessed huge protests over rising unemployment and falling wages that remained orderly thanks in part to the presence of vast numbers of riot police.

    In the United States, anarchists and others are mobilizing for massive protests against the IMF & World Bank meetings, April 24th through 26th, and against the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan on March 19th and 21st, both in Washington, DC. Another coalition, under the banner of a general strike, is organizing “massive civil disobedience” from March 13th through 19th.

    This coming Monday, March 2nd, in Washington, DC, we will see the largest climate action in U.S. history. This peaceful demonstration will be a historic event, but unfortunately, there is only so much that passive, symbolic protest can accomplish. The strength of this action has yet to be seen, but some day, and some day soon, the people are going to have to join the thousands of people around the world who are already putting their bodies and lives on the line, literally and physically, and into the gears of the machine, so that it may be prevented from working at all.

    Summer of Dignified Rage

    Police in London are warning of a “summer of rage,” as Michael Holden reports for Reuters, “with mass protests over the economic crisis that could mar Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s G20 summit in London in April.” James Slack reports for The Daily Mail that “one of Britain’s most senior police officers with responsibility for public order raises the spectre of a ‘summer of rage’, with victims of the increasingly bitter recession taking to the streets in possibly violent protest. Superintendent David Hartshorn, who heads the Metropolitan police’s public order branch, warned that law-abiding middle-class individuals who would never have considered joining demonstrations may now seek to vent their anger through protests this year.” He continues:

    Violent protests take place in Europe – in recent weeks Greek farmers have blocked roads over falling agricultural prices, a million workers in France took to the streets to demand greater protection for their jobs and wages and Icelandic demonstrators have clashed with police in Reykjavik – but not here. But can we really be so sure? The public’s rage with the banks and the Government is growing by the day.

    Thousands are losing their jobs through no fault of their own because bankers who made millions during the good times are calling in the loans which their employers need to stay afloat. Homes are being repossessed across the country, but not the penthouse flats and country piles of bank bosses who thought nothing of taking home vast seven-figure bonuses, and consider £1 million a year a modest income. Economic protests. Protesters expressed anger at being made to pay for the folly of those who caused the financial collapse. The innocent are being punished while the guilty continue to lead affluent lives.

    Anarchists and anti-authoritarians are indeed busy organizing for London’s G20 summit. Robert Mendick and Nigel Rosser report for The Evening Standard:

    Police are on full alert ahead of the protest, planned for 1 April – the day world leaders arrive in London for the G20 summit. Thousands of demonstrators, including anarchists and anti-aviation activists, are planning a series of protests, aiming to capitalise on disenchantment with City financiers blamed for dragging the economy into recession. The event, dubbed ‘Financial Fools Day’, is likely to cause mass disruption as demonstrators try to block traffic and buildings by lying in tents and sleeping bags across the road. The April protest has captured the imagination of anarchists. Some are plotting further demonstrations against the G20 on the day of the summit on 2 April. One protester said the example of Athens, where young Greeks have been rioting for several months since police shot dead a teenager, could provide further inspiration.

    The echoes of December’s insurrection in Greece continue to reverberate throughout the country, as the popular revolt continues with ongoing occupations, strikes, riots, and the re-emergence of urban guerrillas.

    Occupations have also re-emerged in the U.S., beginning most notably with the occupation of Republic Windows & Doors and the occupations of New School and NYU in New York.

    But in America, in police state news, the agents of State repression are so desperate to manufacture a bogeyman to justify their unprecedented increase in police state powers that they have resorted to arresting four animal rights activists on “terrorism” charges, under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, for chalking, leafleting, and wearing masks while protesting. It seems the AETA basically makes it illegal, and an act of “terrorism,” to bother or attempt to disrupt those who profit from the exploitation and torture of animals. Eight defendants from the RNC protests have also been charged with “terrorism,” in this case for actions committed by other individuals.

    Meanwhile, in an act that will undoubtedly become increasingly more common, particularly in America, as the global economic crisis continues to unfold, one or more angry citizens reportedly spray painted a Congressman’s car and home. And as ABC Eyewitness News 5 reports, this wasn’t the first incident of the sort.

    At the same time, industry mouthpieces are reporting an increase in ELF and ALF style attacks against the ecocidal and exploitative industrial economy, noting a particular rise in Mexico.

    Autonomous communities of resistance are also working to counter the effects of the economic crisis in working class neighborhoods, resisting foreclosure and eviction, and even moving the homeless in to vacant homes. In Modest, California, a group calling itself the “Robin Hoods” appropriated and redistributed food to a working class community.

    In their communique, the Robin Hoods write:

    To make our intentions for the action clear, we left behind a banner at the scene which read, “Resist the Recession! – ROB THE RICH!” The food was appropriated from various capitalists – and was thus free (and very easy) to obtain.

    Taken all together, this confluence of increased resistance and increased State repression, both on an international, globalized scale represents a new era of history that does away with the post-modern notion that we live in a time after history has somehow ended (an absurd notion, I always thought). Historical events are unfolding that will have a tremendous effect on the future, and our actions are extremely powerful (as are our moments of inaction, unfortunately).

    In his most recent prison dispatch, eco-prisoner Jeffrey Free Luers called for a general strike in December to coincide with the Copenhagen climate talks. He writes:

    We need massive action on an international scale never before seen in human history. We have the ability to create such a massive mobilization. In the past we have achieved international days of action that have rocked the world. We must go beyond those past days of international solidarity however. We must reach for something never before achieved. We must shut the system down in its entirety and force our governments and multinationals to listen and change.

    We need an international global strike. For one day we must stop all work and labor. We must shut down the factories, the ship yards, shut down transportation. We must bring everything to a grinding halt. And demand immediate action on climate change. Demand an immediate shift from fossil fuels to alternative energies. Demand accountability from wealthy nations and help for poorer ones. It is an ambitious goal and a necessary one. We have to act ourselves.

    In December 2009 world powers will again meet to discuss climate change and global warming in Copenhagen, Denmark. The likely outcome will be yet another unfair toothless agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions, much like Kyoto in which, after much hype, actually led to increased worldwide emissions.

    In December we must show the world governments that they are not in power except by the grace of their citizens. We must remind world governments that they exist solely at our discretion and to serve us, not line the pocketbooks of the rich.

    In December we must mobilize to shut the system down with a massive worldwide general strike. Global warming is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. We must address the threat decisively and immediately. We must confront those that would obstruct such actions overwhelmingly.

    In December 2009 it is time for more than just international solidarity, more than just pleading for change. It is time for a united front; it’s time to reclaim our power. It is time for a general strike.

    How we choose to face the events that are unfolding before us today will have an unimaginable impact on the lives of future generations, human and non-human alike. How we approach the dismantling of the old order of industrial ecocide and the creation of a viable and sustainable mode of existence is our paramount concern.

    Nathan Coe is a guerrilla journalist and rebel insurgent residing in the mountains of Southwest Colorado, who also works with SW(A)RM, subMedia, and Indymedia. He can be contacted at autonomousresistance@riseup.net or via his blog at ShiftShapers.gnn.tv.
    “How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which has to be overcome, by the effort it costs to stay aloft. One would have to seek the highest type of free man where the greatest resistance is constantly being overcome: five steps from tyranny, near the threshold of the danger of servitude.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

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